Endorsement for Chair of UW Faculty Senate: Mark Haselkorn

UW SenateI would like to urge the election of Mark Hazelkorn as the new Vice Chair of the Faculty Senate.  If elected, Mark will serve in 2015 as the Chair of the Senate.

This endorsement does not come lightly.  As readers of the Ave know I have been critical of the Faculty Senate and feel strongly that it needs to become a more independent part of the University if “shared governance” is to ever mean anything.  Mark has been involved with the Senate for some time.  That is good because he understands the Senate.  Talking with him, I believe this experience will give him the tools to lead an effort to make the Senate what it can be.

I also feel that Mark’s academic specialty could uniquely prepare him for the job of Chair of the Faculty Senate. His work focuses on  the “success” and “effectiveness” of humanitarian operations. This gives him a perspective on “uses of technology, educational practices, social empowerment, decision-making, program evaluation, design of complex human-systems.” That seems like a huge plus in the faculty providing leadership for UW directions.

Frankly, Norm Beauchamp’s candidacy disturbs me.  I gather that the rules allow a Department Chair to serve also as Chair of the Faculty Senate.  Given the untitledhuge range of department sizes and the University, this may make sense. Some departments are small and very collegial. There are even departments where the chairmanship is a rotating job.  Neither of these truths apply to the Department of Radiology in the School of Medicine.  The Radiology Department is a huge enterprise, as big as some small universities.  As Chair, Norm’s job is clearly that of the administrator.  Aside from faculty issues, Norm  must function and has functioned as an entrepreneur …. competing for business as part of the successful  “UW Medicine” brand program led by our Dean, Paul Ramsey.  As Chair of a clinical department, Norm also deals with managing a very large medical practice, a set of  issues very different from those facing the Chair of the Faculty Senate.

Leaving aside the question of whether any individual could simultaneously be Chair of something as big as Radiology and do a good job as Chair of the Faculty Senate, it seems to me that there is an obvious conflict of interest for anyone serving both in administrative role and as a leader of the faculty


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